Off the Griddle with Ihopapotamus at…The Griddle Cafe

Editor’s note: to find out more about this Ihopapotamus (and all the others) check out the About Ihopapotamus page – this week’s review is brought to you by CG.

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Hi Fancakes, I am East Coast born and bred, so I decided to use a trip to LA to see how they pancake on the other side of the country.

griddle cafe
(from google maps)
The Griddle Cafe is on a pretty busy street in Hollywood, which probably explains why it was crowded at 9:30am on a Tuesday. I know the Ihopapotamus is supposed to sample any available drink specials, and there were about a dozen drink specials available, but…I have a policy of not drinking alcohol before I get on an airplane, and my flight was later in the day, so we stuck with coffee. But! They serve the coffee in individual French presses. Nice touch.
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Back to the pancakes. There were also about a dozen to choose from, plus eggs, omelets, french toast…the menu was extensive. I ordered the BLUESberry pancakes (blueberry pancakes topped with blueberry sour cream) and my boyfriend ordered The Golden Ticket, banana pancakes with caramel, walnuts and streusel topped with whipped cream, more caramel and more streusel. Most of the specialty pancakes were along this line of insanity. You want Oreos in your pancakes? You can get that. Frosted Flakes? No problem. Wilford Brimley warning video about diabeetus? Should be mandatory viewing upon entry.
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THESE PANCAKES WERE HUGE. If you can’t tell from the photos, those are three dinner plate-sized pancakes stacked on top of each other and topped with a pile of cream. The blueberry pancakes were nice and fluffy with a good berry distribution. The blueberry sour cream just sort of tasted like blueberry yogurt and didn’t add much.
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The Golden Ticket pancakes were extremely sweet, which was to be expected, and the streusel contributed a nice crunch.
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It’s hard for me to fairly assess The Griddle Cafe because I don’t think I went in with the right mindset. We were sort of in a rush, weren’t in a particularly decadent mood and had eaten solid food in the previous 24 hours. Seriously, I think finishing a whole stack should be a challenge on Man vs. Food. I could barely finish one pancake. From what I could discern under the blizzard of cream and sugar, the pancakes themselves were pretty good. I’m not dreaming about them, but if I found myself on Sunset Blvd. again I would revisit The Griddle Cafe and split a stack of their plain buttermilk pancakes with a friend.
3 out of 5 Paul Bunyans: Untitled1Untitled1Untitled1
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Pancake Like an Egyptian

In my continuing quest to explore pancaking in the Northern Africa and Middle Eastern regions, I set my sites fatir mishaltit or Egyptian pancakes.  Truthfully, it was pretty difficult for me to track down a recipe.  I ended up going with this one for ingredients, but took some liberties and incorporated some techniques from this video.

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In the end, I don’t think this is terribly authentic, but it tasted good!  I couldn’t quite get the whole slapping the dough onto a work surface until it’s paper thin technique down, but I did my best to roll and pull the dough as thin as I could to create lots of thin flaky layers.

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I’ve never made my own croissants or danish, but I think these pancakes incorporate a similar technique – layers + butter = goodness.  Plain, this pancake sort of tastes like a dense croissant.  Drizzled with some honey and dusted with powdered sugar, the pancake tasted glorious, like a lightly sweetened, flaky croissant-fried dough mash-up.  Pretty good. pretty pretty good.

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In fact, I realized I had been hogging the faux fatir and offered some to my boy and told him to eat what he wanted…note, usually he’s totally not a sweets person and will only have a bite or two of any pancake I make…and when I looked back a few minutes later, all the pancake was gone! Hmph, I guess I”ll just have to make some more!

3.75 out of 5 stackies: stackiestackiestackie.75

Ingredients:

1 C flour

1/4 C water

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 C ghee

Directions:

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.  Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the water.  Mix the dough together and knead it for about 10 minutes. (You may have to add a little more water to get a nice stretchy and pliable dough. )  Let the dough rest uncovered for about 30 minutes.

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Coat your work surface with a light layer of ghee so that the dough doesn’t stick.  With a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a large circle.  Make it as large as it will go and pull at the edges to get it even larger and thinner (don’t rip the dough, though!) Brush the dough with ghee. Fold in 2 sides of the dough.  Brush with ghee and roll out again.

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Fold in the opposite sides, brush with ghee, and roll out again.  You’ll want to repeat this process at least 4 times (so twice more). You always want to be working opposite sides of the dough.  The last two times, I folded in opposite corners of the dough.

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Roll out the dough to about a 9″ circle – mine fit in a pie pan, if you can get it thinner, feel free to use a bigger pan (just try to keep the shape round).

Bake in an oven set at 350 for about 30 minutes.  The pancake will rise up and sink back down, it’s done when it’s golden brown on top.

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Drizzle with honey and dust with powdered sugar. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Beghrir Your Pardon

Note: I was just checking on this post and I totally published this on Sunday (3/16) but for some reason WordPress says I published it on 2/18….weirrrrd

So Moroccan Beghrirs are third up inmy North African/Middle Eastern series of pancakes, and I think that they are my favorite so far!

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I also made some Moroccan mint tea (following this recipe) to go with the beghrir and the tea was DELICIOUS.   I followed the whole recipe and made a big container of tea to keep in the fridge for the next few days. Even if you don’t make these pancakes, you should definitely make the tea, it’s lightly sweet, minty, and refreshing, basically everything you want in a refreshing beverage.  I’m pretty excited.

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Okay, on to the beghrirs, pancakes come out very soft and a little bit spongey, definitely a good texture for soaking up the softened butter and honey that top these pancakes.  They’re also really easy to make, you basically blend everything together and then let it sit.  Plus, these pancakes are only cooked on one side, no flipping needed! (I almost named this post “No Flipping Way” but decided that was slightly too vague…not that “Beghrir Your Pardon” really tells you anything about these pancakes…I may need to work on my post naming…)

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In fact, the way that these pancakes soak up all that buttery honey goodness, they sort of reminded me of Moroccan-style crumpets! (now, those were really good).  Plain, these pancakes don’t have much taste at all, there’s only a 1/2 tsp of salt in the recipe, and no sugar.  When I first found this recipe, I was pretty excited to see what the orange blossom water would be like.

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(I ordered this bottle from amazon).

The blossom water smelled amazing – like a distillation of rainwater dripping off of oranges…yeah, basically poetry.  In the pancakes, the flavor was not nearly as prominent.  In my head, I think the effect of orange blossom water is kind of what happens with bay leaves in stew.  You know how bay leaves are often used to impart some “warmth” to stews and soups?  Well, the blossom water had a similar effect, making the beghrir taste more “Moroccan” without actually making anything taste like oranges. …I guess you might have to make them to see what I’m talking about.

3.75 out of 5 stackies: stackiestackiestackie.75

Ingredients (adapted from Flowers and Flours):

(makes 8 pancakes)

1/2 C warm water

1/2 C milk

1/2 tsp yeast

1/2 C all purpose flour

1/2 C semolina flour

1 egg

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp orange blossom water

softened butter and honey (for topping)

Directions:

Add the yeast to the warm water and let sit for 10 minutes.

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In a blender, combine all the ingredients (including the yeast and water) – I let the water and yeast sit in the cup of the blender.

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Let the batter rest for 30 minutes.

In a lightly buttered pan over medium low heat, cook 1/4 C batter at a time.

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Cook the beghrir for about 3 minutes, lots of bubbles will form – DO NOT TURN THE BEGHRIR.  At this point, the beghrir should be done (the bottom will be golden brown and the top will be full of bubbles but dry).

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Slather with softened butter and honey – enjoy!

They Call Me Meloui Yellow-y

Like I mentioned last week, I’m trying to marathon through pancake recipes from North Africa and the Middle East (2 regions that I’ve somehow previously ignored in my pancaking travels).  So, this week, I made Moroccan Meloui, they’re very closely related to mofletas, and in fact, the recipes use the same basic dough/batter base called rghaif.

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I actually liked these quite a bit better than the mofletas, the texture was a little denser, chewier, and smoother (i.e. without the sort of grittiness the semolina added to the mofletas). Also like the mofletas, the rolling and kneading of these pancakes was an involved process.  Suffice to say, there’s a lot of butter, a lot of rolling and re-rolling, and your kitchen will not be spared (there was flour and butter EVERYWHERE).

ImageBut, if you’re up for a challenge or you’re just a little curious, I would definitely recommend making these.  I read that they also store well in the freezer but since I made a 1/4 batch, I didn’t get a chance to test any of that out. 

3.5 out of 5 stackies: Image

Get the original recipe here.

Ingredients:

1/2 C all purpose flour

1/2 C semolina flour 

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

pinch yeast

3/8 C warm water

1/4 C vegetable oil

1 Tbs softened butter

2 Tbs semolina flour

Directions:

Whisk together the flours, sugar, salt, and yeast.  Add the warm water and mix together to form a soft dough that’s easy to knead (you can add a little more warm water to get to the right consistency if you need to).  Lightly flour your work surface and knead the dough for about 10 minutes (it should be smooth and elastic).  Divide the dough in to 5 small balls, cover, and let rest for 20 minutes.

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Take one of the doughballs  and dip it in the oil.  Roll the dough out into into a thin rectangle.

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(or in my case a sort of long oval….)

Dot the dough with butter and sprinkle a little bit of semolina on it.  Fold the 1 of the longer sides in.

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Repeat with the other side, overlapping the two pieces.

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Dot with more butter and sprinkle with more semolina.  Roll up the dough starting at one end, try to smooth out any air bubbles that more form.  Pinch the end of the roll so that it stays together.

ImageRepeat with the rest of the dough and let rest for another 20 minutes.  Then take one rolled doughball and flatten it into a circle either with a rolling pin or just smacking it with your hands.

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Cook in a nonstick pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes, you’ll have to turn the pancake several times and both sides should be golden brown.

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Serve with melted butter and honey.

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Happy Pancake Day!!

Hey Fancakes!!

From all of us at So You Think You Can Pancake, have a happy pancake day!  If you’re wondering what pancake day is all about, I can give you 2 quick rationales for why this day exists:

  1. Shrove Tuesday aka Mardi Gras aka Pancake Day (today 3/4/14) is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday (which is the start of Lent).  As I understand it, traditionally, during Lent people would sacrifice things including eating certain types of foods (often the fatty, delicious ones).  So, to eat up all those delicious ingredients, they would often make pancakes, thus Pancake Day!
(photo from IHOP!)
  1. If you’re not religiously inclined but still want to celebrate, IHOP has declared today to be “National Pancake Day.”  It’s actually a really cool idea, you can go get a free short stack of pancakes at any IHOP and then anything you decide to “pay” gets donated to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.  Since 2006, IHOP has raised around $13 million for charitable giving and their goal this year is $3 million.

Basically, for whatever reason you’d like, GO GET YOUR PANCAKE ON!

Mofletas

I was taking a quick look through all my posts and I noticed that I’ve sort of neglected certain regions of the pancaking world like Northern Africa (actually most of Africa) and the Middle East, so, starting this weekend and for the next few, my goal is to find some awesome pancake recipes from those parts of the world and see what they’re like! This week, I made mofletas (aka mufletas), a type of North African-Jewish pancake traditionally made for Mimouna (the day after Passover).

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I followed this recipe and it was definitely an experience.  Not only is it a yeasted batter, it also uses 2 types of flour, and involves some fairly involved rolling and folding.

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(part of the rolling and folding process!)  Overall, I liked the flavor profile of the mofletas but I wasn’t totally sold on the texture.  The combination of whole wheat and all purpose flours with just a little bit of water made for some pretty dry pancakes.  Plus, with all the cornmeal that gets sprinkled between layers, the pancake gets a little gritty (I think with a less dry pancake, the cornmeal/semolina would actually be a good textural contrast.)

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3 out of 5 stackies: stackiestackiestackie.5

Ingredients:

1/2 C whole wheat flour

1/2 C all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp instant yeast

1/4 C and 1 Tbs warm water

5 Tbs unsalted butter, melted

5 Tbs vegetable oil (I used canola)

cornmeal

Directions:

Add the yeast to the warm water and let it sit for at least 5 minutes.

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Whisk the two flours and salt together.

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Add the yeast mixture into the dry ingredients.  Stir to bring the batter together and then knead for about 10 minutes.  Let the batter-dough rest for 30 minutes (cover with some plastic wrap).

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Divide the batter into 4 balls.  Whisk together the butter and vegetable oil.  Dip one ball of dough into the butter/oil and roll it as thinly as possible (don’t let it tear).

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Brush the dough with about 1 Tbs of the butter/oil and sprinkle with just a little bit of cornmeal.

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Fold two ends of the dough in so that they’re touching (see below). Brush with another Tbs of butter oil and sprinkle with more cornmeal.

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Fold the other two ends in so that  touch, brush with more butter-oil and sprinkle with cornmeal.  Roll out the pancake to a 6-7″ square (you can see that mine is more square-ish than square).  Brush with more butter-oil. Heat a lightly buttered pan over medium heat.  Cook on one side for about 5 minutes, flip and cook for another 3 minutes.

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Serve with honey!